In what you could call a rematch of the Game 1 starters, aces CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander went at it in the 5-4 win for the Detroit Tigers, putting them ahead 2-1, one game away from advancing to the American League Championship Series.
The beginning of the game looked promising for the Yankees as a leadoff single was followed by a triple by the former Tigers centerfielder, Curtis Granderson. By the end of the 1st, the Yankees had gotten 2 runs off of Justin Verlander. The Yankees struggled with Verlander’s outstanding Cy Young caliber stuff as his curveball buckled knees and his fastball touched triple-digits frequently as there were 11 strikeouts over 8 innings on 120 pitches from the 24-game winner this season. Every Yankee with an at-bat struck out at least once. The Yankees did manage a total of 4 runs off of Verlander as a 2-run double by Brett Gardner tied the game before the game-winning home run in the 7th.
The Yankees had CC Sabathia on the mound and it appeared that the strike zone was hard to find for the durable lefty. Through just 5.1 innings, Sabathia threw 106 pitches for 6 walks and 4 runs. In 3 of Sabathia’s 6 innings of work, there was at least 1 walk. The top of the Tigers lineup handled CC Sabathia with Ramon Santiago driving in 2 with 2 hits and Miguel Cabrera hurt the Yankees again with 2 hits and drove in 1 of the 5 Tigers runs.
With the game tied at 4 and Rafael Soriano in his 2nd inning of work following the 2 outs he got for CC Sabathia in the 6th inning, Delmon Young broke the tie with a solo home run to right field. The Yankees offense core part of the lineup struggled as Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira went 0 for 10 with 5 strikeouts and 5 left on base. Not to excuse the credentials and notable abilities of Justin Verlander, home plate umpire Gerry Davis also had a very questionable strike zone for the two aces. It appeared as if Justin Verlander had an expanded strike zone and CC Sabathia received a tight strike zone. It’s rare for Sabathia to walk 6 batters in 1 outing and this may have been a result of the strike zone.
Nonetheless, the Yankees are down 2-1 in a best-of-5 game series with A.J. Burnett on the mound. Having Burnett on the mound with the season on the line is not the most favorable option but it is the option presented for us and we simply must believe in A.J. giving us a quality outing so we can fight another day.